Saskatoon Cycles September 2019 Newsletter

Another big year for bike valet service

2019 was another great year for our Bike Valet service. Saskatoon Cycles parked 4,202 bikes at nine events, with 70 volunteers contributing a total of 740 hours.

Since last year we have now parked over 10,000 bikes, thanks to more than 1,500 volunteer hours — all without any financial support from major organizations or agencies.

Many thanks to our contractors — Nathan, Florie, and Zach — who did an awesome job keeping the bike valet program going this summer. The trio were supported by the amazing response from our fabulous volunteers. We can’t thank you enough. On September 5th, we hosted a volunteer appreciation party at 9 Mile Legacy, featuring pizza, beer, and a chance to visit.

A couple of our volunteer board members continue to shoulder most of the load for the Bike Valet program, for organizing, planning, communication, volunteer recruitment and appreciation, administrative duties, report writing, and maintaining the equipment and trailer.

This is not a sustainable model. Unfortunately, although the festivals pay us a set rate and we receive donations, we are still not in a position to hire a manager for our program. We will continue to work toward finding a way to hire a manager for the 2020 season. Our dream is to make this operation a pillar of our operation, as it’s such a practical way to encourage more people to cycle. 

One of the changes you may have noticed this year was the “$2 suggested donation” sign that made its debut at the Fringe Festival. Because of their limited budget, Fringe organizers advised us they could not afford to rent the fencing that we now require for all bike valet bookings. Our Board decided to pay for the fencing, then ask for donations to help cover the cost. 

We’re pleased to report that we had a reasonably positive response to our request for donations: Fringe goers who used the Bike Valet donated an average of 1.22/bike. At events leading up to the Fringe, people were donating about $0.40/bike. Overall we received an average donation of $0.63/bike this season. We will likely continue to suggest a $2 donation at events. 

A big THANK YOU to our wonderful community supporters: 

Based on the success of our first-ever Bike Sale and Swap in June, we are already planning for a bigger and better version in 2020.

This year’s event, which we modelled on an example from Alberta, took place June 28th at the Western Development Museum. We asked for used bike donations and bikes that people wanted us to sell for them on commission. All bikes were checked by bike mechanics. Our goal this year was to test the concept and to at least break even.

Mechanic checking bikes at Sale and Swap

Inaugural Bike Sale and Swap a success

Based on the success of our first-ever Bike Sale and Swap in June, we are already planning for a bigger and better version in 2020.

This year’s event, which we modelled on an example from Alberta, took place June 28th at the Western Development Museum. We asked for used bike donations and bikes that people wanted us to sell for them on commission. All bikes were checked by bike mechanics. Our goal this year was to test the concept and to at least break even.

We want to add a Bike Expo next year, featuring displays from our local bike shops. The tentative date for next year’s event is May 8th and 9th. We know we can attract a large number of people who are looking for a good second-hand bike at a reasonable price.

Thank you to everyone who donated used bikes this year; we’re hoping to attract even more in 2020. Any bikes that didn’t sell were donated to the Bridge City Bike Co-op.

Watch upcoming issues of this newsletter for information on how you can donate bikes for next year’s sale.

We will need a small group of volunteers to help plan next year’s event, and others to work at it. Bike intake will happen Friday night, with the sale and swap to follow on Saturday.

Revised cycling bylaws coming to September 26th meeting of Active Transportation Advisory Group 

Saskatoon Cycles played a key role in revisions to the cycling bylaws currently under consideration by the City of Saskatoon. The draft currently up for review incorporates much of the detailed input we provided two years ago. We estimate that the value of our submission, which was prepared pro bono by a law student, to be more than $20,000. 

The bylaw changes have been reviewed by the Saskatoon Police Service and City solicitors and are now on the agenda for the September 26th meeting of the Active Transportation Advisory Group meeting. They proposed revisions must be approved by City Council to be passed into law.

Ingrid Larson will represent Saskatoon Cycles at the September 26th meeting. At this point, we don’t know how the review process will work or whether citizens will have an opportunity to comment on the new draft bylaws. We expect to find out more details shortly. Stay tuned.

Local media coverage

Saskatoon Cycles needs you

There are so many things we’d like to do, but we’re always limited by our people capacity.

Fortunately, our volunteer opportunities offer various ways to be intentional about your passion for riding a bike — ranging from “bike-sized” jobs that only require a few hours a year, to more formal roles that come with a monthly commitment. Every role, big or small, counts.

Volunteers for specific tasks and events 

  • Help with special events (e.g., Slow Roll, launch party for our new video “The Bike Life,” Bike Expo Sale and Swap)
  • Fill in for our official representatives at meetings of the Active Transportation Advocacy Group when they can’t attend (3-4 pm on the last Wednesday of the month)
  • Meet with Saskatoon Police Service, to help keep the problem of bike theft on their radar
  • Help out with our Annual General Meeting on November 14 (help out with nominations; take minutes; review minutes; set up at the meeting)
  • Help plan for future events like an Open Street (also known as Sunday Street or Cyclovia), where a 2-3 km long section of street is open only for active transportation, dancing, or other street activities
  • Contribute blog posts about what you think is working well for cyclists in Saskatoon, and where there’s room for improvement
  • Audit our books at fiscal year end. 

Board members

We meet the second Wednesday of every month in the Drinkle Building downtown. Light supper is provided. Board members must have time to be involved in one of our many projects outside of monthly meetings, including bike valet, advocacy, fundraising, newsletter, or representing Saskatoon Cycles as a stakeholder. There’s bound to be an option that fits your interest and time commitment. 

Ingrid Larson and Jerome Nicol are forming a nomination committee. If you’re interested in joining our Board, contact either of them for more information: I.larson@sasktel.net  jeromenicol@gmail.com

Thank you to Jen Thoma

Many thanks to Jen Thoma, who has been our behind-the-scenes social media and communications resource for the last year and a half. Jen was a tremendous help to us and we are sad to say goodbye. She was our first paid operations manager (5-8 hours/week). Her regular job has increased in responsibility and she no longer has the time to work with us. We hope to tell you about  our new communication person soon.

Save the date: Saskatoon Cycles AGM November 14th

Our 2019 Annual General Meeting will take place Thursday, November 14th at 6:30 p.m. Location to be determined.

We have new rep at Active Transportation Advisory Group

Wayne MacDonald has volunteered to represent Saskatoon Cycles at the monthly meetings of the City’s Active Transportation Advisory Group. Thank you, Wayne! Thanks also to Brenda MacDonald who attended the first meeting in Wayne’s place.

Mark your calendar: Velo Canada Bikes AGM 

Plan to (virtually) join this year’s Annual General Meeting of Velo Canada Bikes, Saturday, September 28, at 5 pm Eastern Time. 

This year’s meeting will feature a special guest presentation by Tony Arnold, from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (University of Sydney). In the transport sector Tony has worked on freight optimisation, network design, road design, safety and communications. After a five-year stint coordinating the Australian National Cycling Strategy, Tony is keen to contribute research that helps Australia to meet big challenges such as managing traffic congestion, mitigating climate change, minimising health care costs and improving the liveability (and loveability) of our cities.

For more information, including details on how to log on to the Zoom meeting (by computer) or dial in by phone, visit the AGM page on their website

Study finds e-bike riders get as much exercise as riders of regular bikes (source: treehugger)

Fans of electric bikes often say they are riding further than they used to on “analog” bikes, to use a retronym coined by Andrea Learned. I have written about my own Gazelle: “I am using it more often than I used my regular bike, and I am going longer distances. I suspect that, because of that, I am probably getting as much exercise as I did on my bike.” But it was all apocryphal, until now.

A new study, with a mouthful of a title, “Physical activity of electric bicycle users compared to conventional bicycle users and non-cyclists: Insights based on health and transport data from an online survey in seven European cities,” finds that in fact it is true: e-bikers take longer trips and get pretty much the same physical activity gains as analog cyclists.

Read the full article at treehugger

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